Here are our top 5 strategies for losing lockdown weight. Avoid putting on extra “corona pounds” this winter with these tips!
We’ve spoken to countless women in their 40s and 50s who have struggled with lockdown weight during 2020. From the impact of lockdown on family life to the anxiety of restrictions, this year has been tough. Even the stress of working from home, on top of juggling childcare, can cause extra pounds to pile on.
It’s not been an easy ride for anyone. Many have turned to food and drink to try to deal with the emotional “coronacoaster.” This makes it easy to see the scales creep upwards.
Now, more extreme restrictions are coming into place this winter. This can feel like all hope of losing excess weight has disappeared.
It can be tempting to give up at the moment, especially when there are no social events on the horizon. And if there’s no one to impress, what’s stopping you from putting that diet off for another evening?
In reality, it’s not about weight or appearance – it’s also about how we feel. Junk food, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle can be a dangerous cocktail. These factors can lead to a hangover which is a bout of the winter blues!
In our experience, the more someone eats and drinks, the more lethargic and gross they can feel. This can become a vicious cycle of eating as a temporary pick-me-up, only to feel even worse afterwards!
But, here’s the thing: whilst it can feel unavoidable for many people, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is an alternative.
Last lockdown, we helped dozens of clients lose between 1-2 stone. Now, they can fit back into their favourite clothes and find their confidence again! And this happened within those three months where we were told to “stay at home!”
We work exclusively with women over 40 who are juggling busy, high-pressure careers. Plus, with home schooling a major factor, it wasn’t like they had it easy!
So, with another lockdown on the horizon, we wanted to share the five key strategies our clients used. By utilising the tips inside our “Fit Over 40” programme, they saw amazing success on the scales. Here are our top tips to avoid gaining weight during lockdown. We also covered these in our recent podcast.
Strategy 1: Change Your View of Lockdown
Most mainstream diets go straight into the ‘doing’ , which means people fail at the first hurdle. In reality, if you’re looking to see results, you first need to set yourself up for success.
Think of it this way: would you build your dream house without digging strong foundations? Probably not! If you did, your house would crumble down within a week…
The same applies for losing lockdown weight. If you don’t believe something’s possible, you’ll end up giving up before you’ve even started.
So, if your perception of the situation is “2020 is a write-off,” then it’s going to be difficult to succeed.
Both the media and the people we surround ourselves with can alter our perceptions. It can be easy to fall into the ‘corona pity party’ – as we like to call it!
So, how do you change this?
In our experience, the best way is to view the second lockdown as an opportunity. Not being able to go out to eat or see friends at social gatherings can actually be beneficial.
Eating out and social events are often some of the biggest reasons people ‘fall off the wagon’ in the first place! Gaining weight is much easier when you’re surrounded by food and alcohol.
So, changing how you view this second lockdown can have a huge impact on your results.
Strategy 2: Set Up Your Environment for Success with Lockdown Weight Loss
It’s a common myth that you need to develop more willpower to succeed with your fat loss goals. You might think that, if something didn’t work before, you need to try harder next time…
…that with more effort, you’ll suddenly see the results you’re after.
In our experience, your willpower is like the battery on your phone… the more you use it, the less you have! Until, eventually, it runs out and stops working.
Women over 40 with stressful lives often find it difficult to make decisions by the end of the day. This makes it more likely they’ll turn to junk food and alcohol. It’s likely they’ll hit the “sod it” button, and to tell themselves “I’ll start again on Monday”.
So, what’s the solution?
We recommend setting your environment up for success.
Your environment is what you surround yourself with. It’s the people and things around you, and there are a couple of things you can do to help out your future self:
- Your physical environment
This is what’s in your cupboards, in your home, and in your work or relaxation spaces. In our experience, having a cupboard full of junk food can make it almost impossible to eat healthy.
We recommend our Fit Over 40 clients to do a “cupboard cleanse.” This means removing all the unhealthy foods from their homes for a couple of weeks. It might sound simple but this is one of the best ways to break out of bad habits and end cravings.
- Your digital environment
This includes news apps, social media and easy-to-fall-into distractions. If you’re always glued to your phone or tablet it’s hard to find the time and mental space to succeed with fitness.
We recommend clearing out any apps which make it easy to fall off track. Delete takeaway apps and reduce the number of notifications popping up on your phone. It’s also worth unfollowing any social media accounts which aren’t helpful or healthy for you.
Strategy 3: Keep It Simple and Focus on the Fundamentals of Weight Loss
People often make things more complicated than they need to be.
The problem with this is that the more complicated something is, the more difficult it will be to stick to… and if you can’t stick to it, you’re never going to see results!
So instead, it helps to focus on the basics of weight loss to lose lockdown weight.
The most important factor for weight loss is your “Energy Balance.” This is how many calories you consume vs how many calories you burn. Finding this balance (and the right balance for you) is key.
Remember Goldilocks? not too much, not too little… but just right! Well it’s exactly the same when it comes to energy balance.
The second thing to look at are your stress levels, which also play a big part in weight loss. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can impact how your body retains fat. So, keeping stress low while reducing calorie intake is key.
Thirdly, increasing your activity levels can be helpful for finding the right energy balance. We recommend avoiding high stress activities, such as HIIT training. These activities can have a negative impact on your stress. Instead, focus on walking more and implementing low-impact training. We always suggest Low Impact Strength Training to clients on the Fit Over 40 programme.
The final fundamental to weight loss is managing your food choices. You should eat the right amount for your body and cut out problem foods. We do this with our clients using a method called the Diet Makeover, which you can find more about here.
Strategy 4: Still Enjoy Treats, Just Choose Better Options
A lot of mainstream diet plans ban treats completely. But, in our experience, this can often lead to a binge-starve cycle and yo-yo dieting.
Many women who follow these plans eat well during the week but end up undoing all their hard work at the weekend. Alternatively, they eat perfectly for a few weeks and then fall off the wagon and re-gain all the weight and more! Neither of these methods are ideal long term.
So, what do we recommend instead?
Swapping your go-to indulgent snacks for lower-calories treats can work wonders. For example, a tub of salted caramel ice cream can be upwards of 1300kcal. Alternatives, like Halo Top or Ben & Jerry’s Moophoria, are around 3-4 times less calories.
Swap a 500 calorie chocolate bar for a low-calorie hot chocolate with marshmallows. You don’t need to skip the alcohol either. A glass of wine might be 200kcal where a gin and slimline tonic could be as little as 50kcal!
Making swaps like these means you’re more likely to stick to your diet and drop lockdown weight, as it’s more sustainable in the long run!
Strategy 5: Stop Struggling Alone
Very few people succeed without any outside help. In our experience this is usually because it’s MUCH harder to succeed when you have nobody to answer to.
Since 2014, we’ve coached thousands of clients. We’ve found that accountability and support are key to success. Whether this is with a friend, a group of like-minded women or with a coach. You’re much more likely to stick to your goals if you have someone to answer to.
When we speak about accountability, we mean having someone to say: “Did you do what you said you’d do?” This doesn’t have to be intimidating, and can be a friendly nudge to help you stay on track after a tough day.
In our experience, this is the biggest reason why our clients see the success that they do. This is the reason why dozens of the women we work with lost between 1-2 stone last lockdown: because they had someone to help them!
If you’re looking for that extra nudge to push yourself towards your goals, our Fit Over 40 programme might help. We implement these five strategies, along with many more, to help our clients see the results they deserve.
If you’re interested in how we can help you drop lockdown weight over the next 12 weeks, you can find out more about working with us here!